Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Careline provides a free telephone befriending service 365 days a year, to people living in the Derbyshire Dales and East Staffordshire. They may be living alone, caring for someone, recently bereaved or feeling in need of support. Our calls are made by a team of over 60 volunteers and aim to reduce isolation, loneliness and social exclusion; we help our members to avoid crisis situations and have robust safeguarding procedures in place if problems do occur, therefore giving them the confidence to remain living independently in their own homes, for as long as is practical or they wish to do so. For many people we are their first line of support, because they simply have no-one else.

Our service supports local rural communities, many of which have been severely affected by on-going government and voluntary services cuts. Reduced public transport options, increased travel costs and the loss of local community transport schemes mean that growing numbers of people in these areas will continue to struggle to leave their homes to find the social interaction that they need, in order to lessen their sense of isolation. Moreover it is now widely accepted that loneliness and social isolation are harmful both to our physical and mental health – worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse even than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. Our service aims to lessen these risks and increase well-being amongst the people that we call.

Based in St Oswald's Hospital in Ashbourne, the majority of calls are made from our office by our volunteers. We make three calling sessions per day (morning, midday and afternoon), equating to approximately 420 calls per week. As a small charity we are able to offer a tailor-made service to the people we support; they may choose to have a call every day or just a few times a week. Calls can be increased during periods of ill-health or while friends and family are away. Follow-up calls are made to emergency contacts if someone cannot be reached during a call session, to ensure that they are safe. This safeguarding process has been crucial on several occasions after members have fallen or become ill overnight, with Careline raising the alarm and getting help to them quickly. Not only does this give our members peace of mind, but also their families and friends. Our calls offer support and simple friendship - we find that a problem shared, really is a problem halved and we will often know who to go to to get an issue solved.

As well as the calls we also hold regular events( for which we provide free transport), which give those that we call the opportunity to get out of their homes and to meet the people that they regularly speak to over a cup of tea and cake.

After 21 years supporting over 1000 people in the community, we are now finding that our own budgets are being stretched and that funding streams are becoming increasingly difficult to secure. Ironically perhaps, this comes at a time when our service has never been more in demand. As such we are asking that people vote for Careline and give us a much needed lifeline, so that we can continue the work that we do - work which makes a massive difference to so many people who could not otherwise afford the support that they need and of which we are so proud. Careline costs around £45,000 a year to run and although we work very hard to raise funds and are extremely lucky to receive donations, we still face a shortfall of around £20,000 if we are to keep the service up and running for another 12 months.

By voting for Careline, you are supporting those who really need it. This is what the service means to just some of the people we call:
“If you’ve got a problem you can always rely on Careline
“My wife was my carer until she had to go into care and I felt utterly on my own, lost, until Careline came and fitted in like a piece of jigsaw.”

Project Video


Moment of Pride

I am so proud to work for Careline! It can be hard to imagine the difference that a simple call can make to someone, but if you can't get out of the house that call can become the most important time of someone's day. The call may offer a laugh or a shoulder to lean on and always friendship.

Location: Derbyshire Dales District, UK